199 Educ. L. Rep. 569 (2005).


This article addresses the impact that grades can have on the lives of students and discusses what grades actually represent in terms of student achievement. It also addresses disputes involving grading policies that allowed non-academic factors in decisions on grades or academic credit. The article includes a brief summary of the history and legal theories related to grading challenges and then provides a review of the relevant case law including Board of Curators of the University of Missouri v. Horowitz, Barnard v. Inhabitants of Shelburne, Tinker v. Des Moines, Goss v. Lopez, Knight v. Board of education, Gutierrez v. School District, and Fisher v. Burkburnett independent School District. The article concludes with a discussion of judicial treatment of these issues and the lessons these cases teach for establishing and administering a legally sound grading policy. In order to avoid successful challenges to their grading policies the authors recommend that school officials focus primarily on academic evaluations, respect students’ due process rights, and comply with applicable state and federal laws.

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